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Engineering Life to Survive on Mars and Aid Human Colonization

With NASA’s Curiosity Rover safely on Mars and ready to search for signs of life, back on Earth attempts are underway to engineer bacteria that could thrive on the Red Planet.

A team of undergraduates from Stanford and Brown Universities are busy applying synthetic biology to space exploratio... Read More

In First, Software Emulates Lifespan of Entire Organism

Scientists at Stanford University and the J. Craig Venter Institute have developed the first software simulation of an entire organism, a humble single-cell bacterium that lives in the human genital and respiratory tracts.

The scientists and other experts said the work was a giant step towar... Read More

Do Bacteria Have Built-In Cell Death Mechanisms?

Cell death, also known as apoptosis, is a significant part of normal animal development. However, the question arises whether bacteria, similar to higher organisms, have a built-in mechanism that determines when the cells die.

Researchers at the Hadassah Medical School of the Hebrew Universi... Read More

Millions of diabetics could die of tuberculosis

A third of the world’s human population is infected with a dormant tuberculosis bacteria, primarily people living in developing countries. The bacteria presents a lifelong TB risk. Recent research out of the University of Copenhagen demonstrates that the risk of tuberculosis breaking out is four... Read More

How Bacteria Sense Salt Stress

Scientists' finding is a major breakthrough in understanding a decades-old problem of how bacteria detect environmental changes.

A team of scientists led by Assistant Professor Ganesh S Anand and Professor Linda J. Kenney from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Department of Biologica... Read More

The Dog Bacteria That Can Protect You From Asthma

Studies suggest that infants who grow up with dogs in their home are less likely to develop asthma. Researchers may now have found one reason why. Pets, dogs in particular, may protect infants from the effects of a common virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Infants with severe RSV infec... Read More

Bacteria a potential threat to nuclear waste repositories

By interacting with the radioactive waste and the materials used to contain it, underground microorganisms may affect the safety of nuclear waste repositories, for better or for worse.

Underground, time appears to stand still. That is one of the reasons why deep geological formations are cons... Read More

Blogs by the American Society for Microbiology

Small Things Considered


The purpose of Small Things Considered is to share appreciation for the width and depth of the microbial activities on this pla... Read More

Orchestrating change: Protein signaling between soybean root hairs, bacteria reveals core cellular processes

Understanding what happens to a soybean root hair system infected by symbiotic, nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria, Bradyrhizobium japonicum, could go a long way toward using this symbiosis to redesign plants and improve crop yields, benefitting both food and biofuel production. Because of their exte... Read More

Influenza H5N1 is not lethal in ferrets after airborne transmission

Ron Fouchier has discussed his influenza H5N1 transmission experiments in ferrets at an ASM Biodefense Conference, clarifying several assumptions about the transmissibility of the virus in this animal model. Read More

Earth’s virology professor

Nearly four months ago I stood at the front of a crowded classroom at Columbia University and began teaching the third year of my undergraduate virology course. Twice a week we discussed the basic principles of virology, including how virions are built, how they replicate, and how they cause dis... Read More

Should we fear avian H5N1 influenza?

Why is there such widespread fear of avian H5N1 influenza virus?

Why did Paul Keim, chair of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) say “I can’t think of another pathogenic organism that is as scary as this one”. What lead Donald McNeil, writing about H5N1 in the New Yor... Read More

WHOI Scientist Receives Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Marine Microbiology Initiative Investigator Award

Mak Saito, a biogeochemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has been selected for a Marine Microbiology Initiative (MMI) investigator award by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Saito is one of 16 scientists from 14 different institutions who will receive funds from a total of up to ... Read More

Evidence for influenza H5N1 infections in humans

The fatality rate for human infections with avian influenza H5N1 is widely quoted at >50%, based on the number of deaths among the fewer than 600 cases confirmed by the World Health Organization. Wang, Parides, and Palese suggest that this number is an overestimate. Read More

TWiV 168 Letters

Mike writes:


Hello Men (and sometimes women) of TWiV!


I have read before that the human genome contains the genetic code of several thousand retroviruses. These retroviruses are in an inactive state, and are believed to be the product of infec... Read More

Epidemic bacteria can damage mucins to enter and infect a body part

Scientists from the Schepens Eye Research Institute, a subsidiary of Mass. Eye and Ear and affiliate of Harvard Medical School, have found for the first time that a bacterial pathogen can literally mow down protective molecules, known as mucins, on mucus membranes to enter and infect a part of t... Read More

TWiM 36: Domesticating a pathogen

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Read More

TWiV 181: ORFan poxviruses and nIRFing prions



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Rich Condit, and Read More

3% patients’ bacteria samples show total resistance (India)

In a worrisome finding, an ongoing survey at Sassoon hospital reveals that three per cent of bacterial infections in samples collected from patients over the past two-three months show total resistance to antibiotics.

Th study showed that three per cent of microbiologically confirmed infectio... Read More

TWiV 180: Throwing IFIT at flu and holding a miR to HCV



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Alan Dove, and  Read More

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